Dec 022011

The British Security Industry Association has published a 4-page PDF guide to its members about how they should treat photographers.

(Thanks to the RPS Journal for this link).

Some extracts

Key guidance for security personnel
  • If an individual is in a public place photographing or filming a private building, security guards have no right to prevent the individual from taking photographs.
  • If an individual is on private property, s/he may not take photographs if such activity is expressly prohibited or requires a permit which has not been sought or granted. In this instance, a security guard may inform the individual of the restrictions and politely request that s/he ceases to take photographs or film. The security guard could request that the individual leave the premises and could use reasonable force if necessary to effect this.
  • If an individual is behaving in a manner which a security guard believes to be suspicious, it is important that the suspicions are resolved either through reporting the incident to the police or through polite questioning of the individual.
  • Security guards cannot delete images or seize cameras, nor can they obstruct individuals from taking photographs.
  • Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places. This includes where an individual is in a public place but taking a photograph or film of a private building.
  • On private land, the public may take photographs unless this activity is expressly prohibited by the landlord or a permit is required and has not been sought.
Police powers
  • The police have a number of powers relevant to the use of photography for terrorist purposes, however these cannot be used to stop people legitimately taking photographs.
  • It is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs/film of a public building.
  • They do not need a permit to photograph or film in a public place, and
  • the police have no power to stop the photographing or filming of incidents or police personnel.
  • Additionally, police officers do not have powers under counter-terrorism legislation to delete pictures or destroy film. Cameras, film and memory cards may only be seized when an officer reasonably suspects they are intended to be used in connection with terrorism.

Further reading

(This is partly superseded by the above and other changes).

2008: The law and photography – some useful documents

2009: Is it now illegal to photograph police officers?

  One Response to “British Security Industry Association guide about photographers & photography”

  1. These are really great guidelines .. Your article is really very helpful for security personnel……

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